November 26, 2014

Couple challenges Wisconsin gay marriage ban

A same-sex couple from Milwaukee County is asking the state Supreme Court to take up a direct challenge to Wisconsin’s gay marriage ban.

The lawsuit filed by Katherine and Linda Halopka-Ivery seeks to overturn a state constitutional amendment adopted by voters in 2006 that bans gay marriage. The high court is being asked to take up the case directly, bypassing the circuit and appellate courts, because the couple argues the issue is of great public interest to the state of Wisconsin.

The lawsuit compares the ban to “institutionalized humiliation,” and argues that it denied the couple equal rights under the law after they were married in California and returned to their home in Wisconsin. The couple also charges that Wisconsin’s ban, combined with a domestic partnership registry created after its passage, create what’s essentially a “two-tiered regime that harms gay and lesbian individuals.”

The state Supreme Court is already considering a case claiming Wisconsin’s domestic partnership registry violates the gay marriage ban. A federal case seeking to overturn the 2006 amendment was also filed earlier this year.

In a statement, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said he will continue to defend the laws and the Constitution of the State of Wisconsin.

You can view the full court filing here.